You’ve moved and there’s so much to do. Most likely at the top of your list is unpacking and organizing the house, stocking the pantry and refrigerator, filing moving claims, and if you have kids, getting them registered for school and activities.

It can seem overwhelming to say the least, but here are a few tips to help you get acquainted with your new duty station.

1. Find that great restaurant. Check out yelp, trip advisor, or ask co-workers or neighbors for their favorite recommendations. Set out to discover the best Mexican restaurant (or your favorite kind of food) by making a list of five places to visit. Map it out and set a budget to take in the scenery and discover the local scene. 

2. Take photos. Chances are you’re only going to have a few years at your duty station. Remember to take photos of your home when you first arrive. Two of the houses we’ve lived in have already been knocked down to make new homes. I wished that I had photos of those houses to show our kids when we reminisce about our military journey. Make sure to make time to take a family photo on base or at a local picturesque area with your military servicemember in uniform. You won’t regret having those moments captured!

3. Watch for local events.  Social media is where it’s at. There are a lot of non-official Facebook groups where you can dig in and discover events not only offered on the base, but around the local town as well. Connecting to these groups offers you a place to ask questions and connect with people, but also find the latest happenings. Chances are something is going to catch your eye that you will want to attend and maybe they’ll even be giving a military discount.

4. Find the best attractions. Stop at a hotel, chamber of commerce, or ITT (Information, Tours and Tickets) location, you’ll discover a plethora of pamphlets and brochures of area activities. Ask the employees working which ones are their favorites and if there are seasonal activities you should put on your must-do list.

5. Get lost. Plan an afternoon when you don’t have anywhere to be. Get off the beaten path or take some side roads to see what pops up. You’ll never know if you find a new park, shop, or that hidden gem.

6. Get to know your neighbors. Get out the fire pit and put it in the driveway. Knock on a few doors and invite your neighbors over for s’mores. It’s a great and inexpensive way to host a party (even kid friendly!) where you can make new friends and get some great advice. Plus if you’re in the driveway and the sprinklers go off, you’ll be in the clear.

7. Go for a hike or bike ride. Sometimes we need to slow down and take in the scenery. Hopping on a bike or hiking a local path will provide the opportunity to truly look at the nature at your new duty station. There’s probably some amazing paths out there; you can find yours using the All Trails website.

8. Research your local Parks and Recreation. This may be one of the best places to find activities for all ages in your family. Most Parks and Rec Departments spearhead seasonal activities for children, teens, adults and more. Visit their website or request a quarterly magazine for activities. You’ll find that many colleges and universities offer summer or evening programs with a variety of activities ranging from sports, sewing, pottery, arts, robotics, and more. It’s a great way to keep busy, learn some new skills, and meet some friends.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the unknowns and get out there. You

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